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STUDIO Phase 4 Films
RUNNING TIME 103 minutes
– Audio Commentary
– Behind-The-Scene Featurette
– “I Choose Happiness” Music Video
– Deleted Scenes
– Theatrical Trailer
A black comedy without much bite.
Colin Hanks, Ari Graynor, Ann-Margret, Jeffrey Tambor
Colin Hanks plays Ben, a serial killer who’s most recent victim also happens to have won the lottery. After discovering that he is now rich, Ben’s childhood crush Lucy, played by Ari Graynor, does everything she can to make him fall in love with her. After discovering Ben’s secret, Lucy realizes no amount of money may be worth covering up for Ben’s
Lucky really wants to be a dark comedy. It tries its hardest to make you laugh, but unfortunately it all feels half-baked. Rather than using its unique premise to capitalize on Ben’s murderous hobby, most of the humor is forced through slapstick and a constant barrage of “look how dumb these people are!” jokes that never, ever land.
The film’s tone is all over the place. One minute Ben is hiding bodies in a hotel room, the next he’s having wacky mishaps in a jewelry store with Lucy. There’s nothing wrong with balancing two very different tones throughout a film, but at the end of the day one of them has to win out over the other. Lucky hops back and forth so often and unsuccessfully that I wasn’t sure how to feel when it was over. Was I supposed to feel sorry for these characters or laugh at their misfortune?
It doesn’t help that almost everyone on-screen is an insufferable caricature. Colin Hanks as Ben makes out the best, but that’s because he has almost no personality to speak of. He stands around looking baffled for most of the film’s running time, only coming to life during the too-few scenes showcasing his killings. Even these disappoint, as a film with such obvious horror influences shouldn’t be afraid to get a little more creative with its kills. Plenty of films have provided laughs alongside a large body count, and Lucky certainly has the premise to back this up. Unfortunately, the killings are both bland and predictable and bring nothing new to the table for anyone who’s ever seen a horror film before.
Ari Graynor has delivered some solid performances in the past, but I couldn’t stand her here. Her character is whiny, selfish and unlikeable, and the film can’t seem to decide whether it wants us to root for or against her. She spends her time lying to Ben, stealing his money and making his life hell, yet we’re expected to forget all of this and sympathize with her by the end. This would all be fine if Lucy’s character was actually well written and funny, but alas she is not.
Ann-Margret seems to be having fun in her role, though she isn’t given much to do. She spends most of the film’s running time doting over Ben, being an over-protective mother who is oblivious to her sons darker tendencies. Towards the end the drama ratchets up a bit, but I would have liked to have seen more done with the character. The same can be said for Jeffrey Tambor, who brings his usual charm to the role but isn’t present enough to save the proceedings.
Director Gil Cates Jr. doesn’t have a large resume, and I don’t think Lucky is going to land him many jobs. The film is shot in a boring, made-for-TV movie style, which is a death-knell for a flick like this. A little life behind the camera could have done wonders here, but unfortunately were left to ponder what could have been.
Lucky is a film with a bit of an identity crisis. It isn’t sure if it wants to be a quirky indie comedy or a darker affair, and its attempts to combine the two fall flat. Films with stiff, awkward performances and some darker material have managed to be funny in the past, but that’s because everyone involved had a singular vision. No one involved with Lucky seems to know exactly what kind of movie they wanted to make, so they threw a bunch of different styles at the camera and hoped one would stick. Save your time and money and go buy a lottery ticket instead. You’d have a better chance of enjoying yourself than you would watching this.
Lucky has a solid transfer, though the film didn’t look great to begin with. The soundtrack is boring and forgettable, though it does sound good coming through a decent set of speakers. The DVD menu is touchy and often reverts back to the main menu when you click on another option. Weird.
I was pleasantly surprised by the special features found on the disc. The commentary is fun and reasonably informative, providing anecdotes about the goings on behind the scenes. The featurette repeats much of the same material and is your standard talking-head affair. Some deleted scenes and a music video round out the package, making for a surprisingly robust disc for such a small release.
Out of a Possible 5 Stars